Common Ground: African-American & Jewish-American Composers, 1930-1955 By Leon Botstein Written for the concert Common Ground performed on April 15, 1994 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. In our day and age it is rare that any single “classical music” concert event can find itself caught in the web of a contemporary cultural and…

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“Night Creature” for Jazz Band and Orchestra (1956) By Duke Ellington Written for the concert Common Ground performed on April 15, 1994 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Night for most of us means a time to rest, reflect, and recharge batteries for the next day’s adventures. For Duke Ellington it was the opposite:…

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“I Got Rhythm” Variations for Piano and Orchestra (1934) By Richard E. Rodda Written for the concert Common Ground performed on April 15, 1994 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. The famous stage Director Rouben Mamoulian once said of George Gershwin: I’ve heard many pianists and composers play for informal gatherings, but I know…

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Spirituals for String Choir and Orchestra (1941) By Richard E. Rodda Written for the concert Common Ground performed on April 15, 1994 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Morton Gould, composer, conductor, pianist, arranger and administrator, was born on December 10, 1913 in New York City. By the age of four, he was playing…

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Harlem Rhapsody, Op. 62 (1963) By Leon Botstein Written for the concert Common Ground performed on April 15, 1994 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. It is astonishing that the music of such a good and historically significant American composer as Louis Gruenberg (1884-1964) has drifted into obscurity. Credit must be given to Gunther…

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A Short Overture (1946) By Carol J. Oja, Brooklyn College Written for the concert Common Ground performed on April 15, 1994 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Ulysses Kay has ancestral ties to jazz through his maternal uncle, Joseph “King” Oliver, the legendary New Orleans trumpeter of the 1920s. Yet his compositions only occasionally…

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Symphony No. 1 in E minor (1932) By Rae Linda Brown Written for the concert Common Ground performed on April 15, 1994 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. In 1935 the African-American writer and composer Shirley Graham could boast of the accomplishments of America’s first African-American symphonists: William Grant Still, Florence B. Price and…

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